Dealer Marketing with Internet Memes

sam jackson meme

Marketers have been falling head over heels for memes as they grasp for the elusive grail of viral marketing. Unfortunately, in many cases, they fall face first into the concrete of failure. If you want to market with memes at your car dealership, and want any chance of an automotive campaign going viral, you have to get a gut-level sense of what memes are all about.

Being creative by using strategies like internet memes in your marketing will make your dealership stand out from the rest. Of course, just like any marketing strategy, it takes some trial and error.

Some people just don’t “get it” at first, but don’t worry. You can always employ the services of your teenage son or daughter to further explain the concept of memes! Read on to see how your dealership can create awesome memes for your internet marketing.

What is an Internet Meme?

Well, first let me tell you that you’re probably saying it wrong. It’s pronounced “meem”—like beam, or team—and not like the silent French street artist who gets trapped in an invisible box (that’s a mime). Some misguided souls also pronounce it “me-me,” like it’s two words. Don’t. I’m just letting you know, because I only learned this after much humiliation and ridicule from my peers.

hangover

Richard Dawkins coined memes in 1976 as a “package of culture.” He later defined memes as “anything that spreads by imitation.” You can see his potentially-acid-induced presentation on the subject here. Internet memes, he says, have hijacked this original idea. Rather than spreading by chance (like trends), Internet memes are created deliberately by devious troublemakers sitting alone at their computers in their parents’ basements.

Ok, he didn’t actually say the last part. The point is that memes are an imitation of culture. They copy from popular movies, quotes, and current events—just about anything. Strictly speaking, even Twitter hashtags are memes as they indicate trending topics. (More on Twitter here.)

Internet Memes: “Popular quotes, images, and real people, which are copied, imitated, and spread all over the [I]nternet(s)!” – urbandictionary.com

Ditto Meme Internet memes include any concept that spreads across the Internet. That could be videos, images, audio, or even quotes. Some memes spread fast and multiply like viruses. They become “viral.” That’s the goal of viral marketing. Get it?lionel

Memes in Marketing

Futurama Fry Marketing Meme More and more companies are using memes for marketing, and your dealer can get on board too. Memes add a light-hearted humour to otherwise dry topics, and when done right they’re hilarious. (When they’re done wrong, they’re painful.) They’re also great for sharing through social media to increase “likes” on your dealer’s facebook page, or followers on twitter. dodgeball Full discloser: this is not actually the work of Amy’s Baking Company (as far as we know).

One company, Moz (Formerly SEOmoz), introduced important company news with memes instead of a dull press release. SEOMOZ meme

If you do a Google Image search for “marketing memes,” you’ll find an overwhelming number of examples.Old Spice Marketing Meme

Making Memes

There are lots of free online meme generators on the Internet where you can choose the combinations of images and text that you want, as well as see other memes for examples. Two popular ones are:

  1. Meme Generator (http://memegenerator.net/)
  2. Quick Meme (http://www.quickmeme.com/)

Go ahead and try making some of your own marketing memes. Memes are great for sharing on social media, whether you make them yourself or take ready-made memes from the internet.

Our Favourite Car Memes

We all knew that this blog post was just an excuse to browse the Internet to find our favourite memes. So, without further ado, here they are!

Because Racecar Meme

bc race car Because Racecar Parking Lot meme

Why Upside Down? Because Racecar Because Racecar Supercharger


They Still Don’t Suspect Meme

Don't Suspect Minivan Meme baked potato

Still Don't Suspect Tank Meme


Turbo Lag Meme

Turbo Lag Meme

Turbo Lag N/A Meme


Subaru Meme

Scubaru Subaru Meme


Mechanic Meme

Scumbag Mechanic Meme TDC Top Dead Center Meme

trust the mechanic meme


There’s Your Problem Meme

bmw accident repair meme There's your problem meme

car flooded meme flooded car problem


Go Home You’re Drunk

go home car meme drunk truck meme


Scumbag Car Salesman Meme

Scumbag Car Salesman Meme


Tuner Meme

Tuner Racing Meme lower your car they said meme

big flood car giant rims meme performance mod car meme


Meanwhile in ___ Meme

meanwhile in america truck meme Meanwhile in Australia Meme

Meanwhile in Germany meme Meanwhile in Pakistan Car MEme


Smart Car Meme

smart car fart meme smart car air collision meme


Invisible Racecar Meme

Invisible RaceCar Meme Invisible Bike Cat Meme

Invisible Racecar Cat


“Soon” Car Meme

soon parking lot meme


Mazda Miata Memes

high and happy Miatas meme go home car you're drunk meme

confused miata meme


Truck Meme

huge truck meme lowest truck meme

moose truck meme towception truck meme

truck exhaust meme

truck torque meme


Random Car Memes

Storm Trooper Car Meme Slow Down Scared Cat Meme

car washing rain meme Stupid Car Meme

cat at a motorcycle race meme

bmw burnout meme

priorities meme

car proposal meme

good guy stick driver

car tank meme

grandma thug meme

Is Your Dealership Leaving Co-Op Money on the Table?

Did you know that your dealership could have access to thousands of dollars in advertising cash that you’re not using?

Money on the TableMost dealers are aware they can get support from their manufacturer for spend on radio ads, print ads, and even television advertising. What some don’t know is that a portion or all of their digital advertising can also be covered too. This cooperative advertising, or co-op advertising, is a partnership between the manufacturer and a local dealership where the manufacturer shares the cost of locally placed advertising with the dealership.

Google Adwords is the new frontier in co-op advertising, and Pay-per-Click ads are powerful weapons in the successful marketer’s arsenal. Many brands were slow to get on board with search engine marketing (SEM) initially, but after seeing huge online advertising pay-offs for progressive companies like Ford, we’re seeing a snowball effect in the market for manufacturers like GM, Chrysler, Mercedes, and others.

“Many dealers are not aware that co-op advertising reimbursements are available not only for traditional media, but for digital marketing as well.” — Ralph Paglia, President at Automotive Media Partners.

In his article “Take a Free Ride,” Paglia notes how many manufacturers report that much of their co-op advertising budget goes unspent each year. Relatively few dealerships take full advantage of these programs.

How do you find out if you qualify for some of this free cash?

  • Contact your local Manufacturer Rep or District Manager. These programs often have very specific guidelines; walking through them in detail before selecting a provider is a must.
  • Some OEMs don’t have a formal policy, and will run co-op programs on a trial or case-by-case basis for well presented proposals. Work with a provider like Strathcom Media to put something together for them to review. The key is showing that this will be working to reduce your inventory and promote national offers, something every brand wants.
  • You won’t know until you ask! We currently submit co-op claims for Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Fiat, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Nissan, Ford, Lincoln, Kia, and Mazda stores. Your competition is definitely getting in on the action if you aren’t.

Contact Strathcom Media today to see if your OEM has a co-op program to take advantage of, and start increasing leads with someone else’s money!

Keyword Strategy for PPC: Baby Steps

Pay Per Click Word Cloud
We’re working on a new ebook about paid search advertising for car dealerships, but before it hits the digital presses we thought we’d give you a preview of what’s to come. If you’re setting up your first automotive PPC campaign, then there are a few things you will need to know, and keyword strategy is an important first step.

There are nearly endless combinations of ways that people can enter a search phrase in Google. That’s why, when you’re bidding on keywords in Google Adwords, you have the choice of three match types to determine when your ads show up on search results pages:


Video Via Google.

1. Exact Match

If you bid on an exact match keyword, a searcher will have to type in the exact same phrase (no more, no less) into Google before your ad will appear.

Say you bid for the exact match search phrase “chrome rims chevy ssr.” Someone would have to type that exact phrase into the Google search before your ad appears. If they typed “chrome rims chevy ssr truck,” your ad wouldn’t appear because of the additional word (truck).

2. Phrase Match

Phrase match is a little more forgiving. As long as the search phrase you bid on (in the exact order your bid on) appears somewhere in a user’s search, your ad will get served up by Google.

When you bid on “chrome rims chevy ssr” and someone searches “chrome rims chevy ssr truck,” your ad still has the potential to be served up.

3. Broad Match

Broad match lets you play fast and lose with your keywords, but just like a drunken gunman in the wild west, broad match can be dangerous because it isn’t accurate.

Synonyms, plurals, and singular forms of works all count in broad match. For example, if you chose broad match and someone searches “chrome wheels chevy ssr” they may still be served your ad.

Putting It Together

A successful keyword strategy uses broad match and phrase match keywords initially to bring in traffic for the purpose of testing which keywords are converting well, and then setting those proven keywords to exact match to filter out the qualified traffic.

Testing to further refine your keywords for qualified traffic is like panning for gold. You need to sift through a lot of poorly performing keywords to find the gold, high-converting ones, and then set those keywords to exact match.

If there’s one lessen you should take away before you pull out the guns, click off the safety, and start shooting keywords into your PPC campaign, it’s this:

Don’t be deceived by the quantity of traffic you’re getting with broad match keywords. Often you can be ranking for terms totally irrelevant to your business and wasting money.

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t use broad match—It’s just important to monitor what search queries are coming through if you use broad match, and to add negative keywords when needed.

We’ll cover more strategies, negative keywords, account structure, and metics for measuring performance in our upcoming PPC ebook. See you there!

2014 Edmonton Motor Show Highlights

We came. We saw. We conquered the driving simulator.

Strathcom was at the 2014 Edmonton Motor Show’s Precious Metal Gala, and aside from getting bloated on amazing food and exciting our senses with scintillating entertainment, we saw some pretty amazing cars.

Here are some of our highlights:

Driving Simulator

Ford Driving Simulator
Ford Simulator
Ford’s driving simulator for the Atlas Concept truck was back up and running this year. Here’s Strathcom’s David Lord shortly after his record-setting ride around the virtual track, unknowing that his time would soon be bested.

Performers

Edmonton Motorshow Acrobats
Edmonton Motorshow Acrobats
No expense was spared on the evening’s entertainment. Except, perhaps, for safety mats. Thankfully they weren’t needed.

The Food

Edmonton Auto Show Gala Menu

All you can eat, all you can drink, and all the cars you can look at for $125!

There was more than just cars to make you drool. The Edmonton Motor Show had delectable bites of food dotted throughout the car displays. As you walked through the rows of the Expo Centre, you were greeted by friendly chefs offering up many different delectable treats from hot dog sliders, hamburger sliders, mac and cheese, to foods for higher-end tastes such as paella or fresh oysters.

Fresh Oysters Half Shell

There was something to please all palates. Some of our favourites were the bacon-wrapped filet mignon on a stick, the martini salad bar, and the oily ratatouille.

Salad Martinis at Edmonton Motor Show

It wasn’t only food that pleased our taste buds, but also signature cocktails available along with traditional beer, wine, and highballs. The Edmonton Motor Show offered up a smoked olive dirty martini to sip on if you were feeling like Roger Sterling in Mad Men; a bacon smokehouse Caesar, which seems to be the perfect Canadian drink; and finally some sort of smoky scallop cocktail which looked more filling than thirst-quenching.

The Cars of the Edmonton Auto Show

No Reserve Auction

No Reserve Auction Motorshow GalaFord Engine

This Ford classic will be up for grabs in the upcoming auction. On closer inspection: pure engine porn.

2015 Nissan GTR Black Edition

Nissan GTR Black Edition

It’s not just a GTR. It’s a badass black GTR. Dark, menacing, and bolstered by a 545-hp twin-turbo V6. I think I’m in love.

Camaro Z28

2014 Camaro Z28

It’s time for some American muscle. Exactly 500 horsepower of muscle, to be precise. Chevy’s track star, the 2014 Camaro Z28, looks like it’s going to turn into a Transformer at any second. Autobots unite!

Viper SRT10

Edmonton Motor Show

I never thought there would be a day I would call the Dodge Viper “subtle,” or “sophisticated,” but this 600 hp beast pulls it off. Still, it looks like a WWE wrestler in a white tux. Flex too much, and the fabric just might rip.

Mustang GT500 Convertible

YEG MotorShow
They say the GT500 has the most powerful production V8 engine on Earth. With 662 hp and 631 lb-ft of torque, I believe it. This one can keep up with the big boys.

Infiniti Red Bull RB9

Infiniti Red Bull RB9
It has 830 horsepower packed into a 2.4-litre V8 engine, and a 0-100 km/hr time of two seconds. Infiniti and Red Bull’s partnership in Formula One Racing has created an F1 racer that really does have wings: So far it’s collected 13 race wins, 11 pole positions, and 11 top-three finishes.

Top Tuner Scion FR-S

Team Top Tuner FR-S
Three Canadian teams competed in the 2012-2013 Scion FR-S Toyota’s Tuner Challenge, and team Top Tuner’s Scion FR-S came out on top. This car’s upgrades have included everything from a high performance supercharger to nitrous oxide.

Subaru BRZ

Subaru BRZ
This was my favourite car at the show. It’s the cool blue cousin to the hot red FRS. While the Subaru BRZ it might not be the most powerful or flashy car of the show, the Subaru BRZ is the perfect driver’s car. And after massaging it with a few performance upgrades, it has more than enough power for a fun weekend at the track.

ZXX Ferrari Enzo

ZXX Ferrari Enzo
Ferrari Enzo
Could this be the same Ferrari Enzo—rebuilt—that the owner of ZR auto crashed into the ocean during a Newfoundland rally? Given there are so few Enzo’s out in the world, we think it could be likely. Check out this video of the original Ferrari Enzo crash and decide for yourself:

ZR Auto Lamborghini Murcielago

Zr Auto Lamborghini
There’s blue. And then there’s this chrome blue Murcielago. It has a paint job unlike any other, and the dark gala showroom doesn’t do it justice.

Lowered Infiniti

Lowered Infiniti
How low can you go? This lowered Infiniti from the Go Auto booth tests that theory, with no attention paid to the city’s current pothole situation. The lucky winner of this car will need their luck to last if they don’t want to bottom out.

Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG

MotorShow
One look at the CLA 45, and this is your first thought: This only has four cylinders? Somehow, Mercedes manages to massage 360 hp out of its MG 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. Still, you’d still think it had a V8 (or at least a V6).

RAM 1500 Eco Diesel

Ram Eco Diesel
Eco Diesel V6 Engine
With great fuel economy and towing capacity comes great price. The most disappointing part about the new RAM1500 Eco Diesel is that I’ll probably never be able to afford it. The diesel engine is only available on the higher trim levels.

That means most tradesmen looking for a bargain pickup won’t be able to benefit from this exciting new engine, unless they feel like opting for leather seats and other accessories. And who wants to get their leather seats all covered in mud?

2015 Hyundai Genesis

2015 Hyundai Genesis
This was one of Duncan Cochrane’s favourite cars at the show. While we won’t say it’s an old man’s car (it’s an old man’s car), the all-new Genesis sedan could actually be pretty hot if you go for the 5.0L V8 engine with 420 hp. That’s enough to give some Mustangs a run for their money.

Fooling Around

Of course, we couldn’t just take photos. We were all over these 100,000-plus-dollar cars, and we managed to set off at least one car alarm.

yeg motorshow

big truck

Jeep

Camo Truck

Pink Car

Choppa

J.D. Power Teams up with DealerRater for Customer Reviews

This Wednesday, J.D. Power and DealerRater announced they will be joining forces to speed up customer reviews for auto dealers. JD Power Dealer Rater Partners They will be merging data from Automotive Consumer Insights with dealer reviews. Combining actual dealer reviews with customer survey data means auto shoppers can get all the information they need from one place.

What You Need to Know

  • The combined data means your dealership gets feedback faster, in an easy-to-read package.
  • You will be able to analyze your dealer reputation directly from DealerRater.
  • This will make reading reviews easier for car dealerships!

Why Does DealerRater Matter?

  • Over 9.5 million auto shoppers are posting reviews on the DealerRater site.
  • Positive dealer reviews give car shoppers more confidence to shop at your dealership.
  • Reviews are good for SEO and help your website rank higher.

Want to know more about dealer reviews? Check out our blog series:

What They Had to Say

“We are excited to work with DealerRater to provide automakers and dealers with fast and comprehensive insights delivered through our new industry-leading online reporting platform.” – Mike Battaglia, Senior Director of Automotive Retail, J. D. Power and Associates.

“Our consumer-written reviews serve many purposes, which includes helping consumers find the best place to buy a car and enabling dealers to understand what their customers are looking for in the car-shopping experience.” – Chip Grueter, founder and chief technology architect of DealerRater.

Strathcom Gives Back with Random Acts of Kindness

At the beginning of February, Strathcom laid out a challenge to our team: Each employee would receive $500 to do an act of kindness in the community. This Random Acts of Kindness initiative would show that even in the face of hostility and selfishness, we are able to make a stand for kindness and help those who are really in need. The challenge:

  • The money could not be spent on yourself or immediate family
  • The donation(s) had to go to someone in genuine need (no not for profit clubs, teams, etc.)
  • You could partner with other team members to create a bigger impact

“We at Strathcom felt this was a great way to both engage our staff and give back to the community. Hopefully those that were helped will be able to pass on that positivity and pay it forward”—Duncan Cochrane, President of Strathcom Media

Below are some of our stories.

$3500 to Families Fleeing Violence

Seven team members pooled their resources to purchase much-needed items for the WINGS of Providence Second Stage Shelter for women with children fleeing violence and abuse. The shopping list included:

  • 2 New Laptops
  • 1 Galaxy Tablet
  • 42 Pillows and Pillow Cases
  • 37 Pairs of Children’s Shoes
  • 21 Sheet Sets
  • 2 New Highchairs
  • $500 in Sporting Goods and Equipment
  • 1 Playpen
  • 900 Diapers
  • 3500 Baby Wipes
  • Bibs
  • Formula
  • Cupcakes for all the shelter staff and volunteers

This is what some of our team did for WINGS of Providence Second Stage Shelter in Edmonton:

$500 to a Rwandan Refugee and Single Mother

Background Sifa is a single mother and refugee from Rwanda with four kids. Her youngest child, who is seven years old, is sick and needs to be taken for treatment every day. Since Sifa has to take care of her sick child, she is unable to work. She is on welfare and trying to take care of her four children. One child is quite skilled at soccer and trains six days a week. What we did One of our team members gave Sifa a basket full of games, markers, pencil crayons, and art pads along with $500 worth of gift cards to Superstore so she could feed her four growing children.

Donation to mother in need

$500 to a Woman Who Lost Her Job following a Brain Aneurysm

Background A Strathcom team member knew a woman who had lost her job while she was recovering from a brain aneurysm. She needed help to get back on her feet so she could find a new job. What we did Seeing the need, he used his $500 to help her pick out new suits and take her out for a haircut so she would be prepared for job interviews.

$1000 to a Local Family in Need

Background Teachers at a local school noticed one of their students appeared to be losing weight and was unfocused in class. They discovered that his mother had lost her job and was having trouble keeping food on the table. The teachers have been sending home weekly food hampers to try to help. What we did Two of our staff combined their funds to give $500 in cash and $500 in Superstore gift cards to help out while the family gets back on their feet.

$1000 to Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS)

Background Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS) is a not-for-profit organization unconditionally devoted to helping youth facing difficult realities. What we did Strathcom team members donated $1,000 to help YESS in supporting Edmonton youths in need of help.  

$500 to Kids Who Want to Play Hockey

One employee gave their cash to Kids Who Want to Play Hockey, a local organization that assists underprivileged and low-income families with Hockey registration fees and equipment.

$500 Worth of Warm Clothes to Edmonton Hope Mission

Background On a skin-numbing -30 degrees celsius morning, one Strathcom employee realized that what some people need most on an Edmonton winter is warmth. Edmonton’s Hope Mission seemed like the perfect distribution point to get help to those in need. What we did One Strathcom team member purchased and delivered a whole whack of warm socks, work gloves, toques and fleeces to Hope Mission.

Socks donation

Donations to the Edmonton Hope Mission from Strathcom Media toques donation

hope mission donation

We hope that these acts will inspire others to pay it forward in the future, because even a small act of kindness can be enough to change someone’s life around—and there isn’t a better feeling than helping someone who is truly in need.

Best of the 2014 Super Bowl Car Ads

Super Bowl 2014Some people watch the Super Bowl for the football. Other people watch the Super Bowl for the commercials—because when this much money goes into an ad, we’re expecting something on par with Braveheart, packed into a 30-second spot! While this year’s crop of 2014 Super Bowl car ads might not contend for all-time best—see our best-and-worst list of 2013 Super Bowl car ads for comparison—they were still worth a good laugh (or cry—from shared embarrassment). But no one watches the SuperBowl for the commentary! So, without further ado, here are our choices for the best 2014 Super Bowl automotive car & truck Ads for your viewing pleasure:

Kia’s Matrix Commercial – “The Truth”

Morpheus makes a comeback! Does Laurence Fishburne look like he’s put on a few pounds since the Matrix? While the unexpected opera singing was entertaining, and the Matrix reference always welcome, the commercial itself was somewhat weak considering the massive infusion of cash it took to make. Still, it was rather satisfying on first viewing.

Toyota Super Bowl Commercial – “Joyride”

Terry Crews (who, as expected, is shirtless by the end of this ad) makes an appearance alongside the beloved Muppets in what becomes a random musical featuring the 2014 Toyota Highlander. Of course it’s a musical! You can’t have the Muppets without a musical, right? And yes, thank you for reminding us that the Muppets are Disney ©! Because Disney will prosecute your ass if they catch you even mentioning… Uh oh, I think I just heard a knock on the door.

Volkswagen “Wings” Superbowl Ad

“Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.” Volkswagen takes this heart-warming scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life” and makes it, well, awkward. Funny too. When their Volkswagen hits 100,000 miles, and a father’s teenage daughter is unimpressed, he goes on to describe how “every time a Volkswagen hits 100,000 miles, a German engineer gets his wings.” Wings being some equivalent to puberty? Pubic parts in general? I’m not really sure on this one. Some indignant Twitter-ers noted that the only woman in the commercial was ‘sexually harassed’. By wings. Who ever imagined VW could be controversial?

Audi Super Bowl Commercial – “Doberhuahua”

Audi is trying to give you nightmares. They led up to this ad with two teasers, “Dog Show” and “A Special Message from Sarah McLachlan.” For those who don’t get the Sarah McLachlan reference (I was clueless), she was once featured in an extremely sad ad by the ASPCA. Audi’s commercial mashes the two teasers together, albeit cleverly, in a look at how compromise is like a scary mutant dog that would probably bite your face off. Just watch it.

Hyundai Elantra Super Bowl Commercial – “Nice”

I don’t usually get to totally and freely voice my opinion, so here it is: LAME! What was Hyundai thinking? “We need something with a ‘love story’. I know, let’s have them both driving the Elantra! And the guy is trying to flirt, but he’s bad at it. That’s funny, right?” Sure, they did pick Big Bang Theory’s Leanord Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) as the failed flirt. And Richard Lewis randomly materializes in the back seat—I almost didn’t notice. But overall the ad falls flat. The fine print is the best part: “Cars can’t jump over busses.” Challenge accepted!

Jaguar Super Bowl Commercial – “The Rendezvous”

What villain wouldn’t want to drive a Jag? This clever ad looks at what makes a Hollywood villain, and “why all the best movie villains are British” by featuring three well-known British actors: Ben Kinglsey, Tom Hiddleston (think Loki from the Thor movies) and Mark Strong. The moral of the story? “It’s good to be bad.”

2015 Hyundai Genesis Super Bowl Commercial – “Dad’s Sixth Sense”

This is an improvement over Hyundai’s other Super Bowl ad. Innocean USA made the ad, and when I first saw the name I misread it as “Innocent”—which would make sense, as sweet seems to be Hyundai’s strong suit. Because when they try to be funny they stumble through the joke like an awkward uncle would. This innocent ad shows how dad saves the day, and even when he can’t how Hyundai’s new safety systems still have your back.

CarMax Super Bowl Commercial – “Slow Clap”

Whenever I look at a commercial, I look to YouTube comments to verify my opinions. Because people on the Internet are always right. The most accurate comment: “not impactful.” The funniest comment, courtesy of a user who calls himself BinkieMcFartnuggets (who appears to have made it his lifetime goal to be the top comment on every Super Bowl commercial on YouTube): “Way to alienate people without arms, CarMax!” There. I just saved you endless reading through the comments section on YouTube. You can thank me later.

Chevrolet Silverado HD Super Bowl Commercial– “Romance”

“A man and his truck…and a very eligible bachelor.” The bachelor is a bull. It’s another good ‘ol country classic by Chevy!

Chevrolet Super Bowl Commercial “Life”

Chevrolet’s second Super Bowl commercial may not be the over-the-top ad you might expect. Instead, it is a sombre and heart-felt celebration of cancer survivors—no big special effects, no big celebrities—set to the music of relatively unknown Norwegian artist Ane Brun. It may not have broken the bank, but this ad struck a chord in the hearts of many people at home.

2015 Chrysler 200 Super Bowl Ad

Bob Dylan narrates Chrysler’s patriotic spot for the Chrysler 200, playing “Things have Changed” and intoning how “You can’t fake true cool” while images of Detroit auto workers play in the background. Things have indeed changed, or so the debate goes on Twitter, where some claim that Dylan has sold out. Whatever your opinion, it’s a classy commercial that continues Chrysler’s focus on being in “American import.”

Ford Fusion Hybrid “Nearly Double” Super Bowl Commercial

Billed as a “never done before” two-part commercial, this ad starts with comedian Rob Riggle sitting with a Yorkie and promises a commercial with “double the length, double the awesomeness.” The second part features James Franco (announcing himself as “Rob Riggle”) sitting beside a tiger. More awesome indeed. “Comedian Rob Riggle demonstrates what #NearlyDouble actually means in the Big Game commercial from Ford. But why does Rob look so much like… James Franco?” the video caption on YouTube reads.

Maserati Super Bowl Commercial – “Now We Strike”

10-year-old Oscar-nominated Quvenzhane Wallis is the star and narrator of Maserati’s Super Bowl commercial. With the tag line “Walk out of the shadow, quietly walk out of the dark – and strike,” at least the writing is good—but the delivery gets mixed reviews. Unless you stick out this ad until the end, you may be thinking you just watched an ad for the next zombie apocalypse movie.

Jeep Cherokee “Restless” Super Bowl Commercial

While not particularly adventurous or innovative considering some of its commercials of the past, Chrysler’s 2014 Jeep Cherokee commercial that aired during half-time did a good job of introducing the Cherokee’s new look by showing adventurous people doing adventurous things with an adventurous vehicle.

Mazda 3 Super Bowl Ad with Bruce Lee

Mazda’s Super Bowl commercial talks about “defying convention” – something the commercial itself doesn’t try very hard to do. Mazda uses Bruce Lee as an example that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better—and leads into how they have made their cars lighter, more fuel efficient, blah, blah, blah. It’s the same thing we have heard in 1000 car ads before.

Honda Super Bowl Ad with Bruce Willis and Fred Armisen #hugfest

Honda focuses on vehicle safety while showing the softer side of Bruce Willis in this ad about vehicle safety. However, the awkward touching in this video remains more awkward than funny.

Looking to make your own video ad for your car dealership?

Check out Strathcom’s Dealer Video Service

Google Tag Manager – Web code tracking management

Google Tag Manager to the Rescue!

Have you been drowning in a sea of code overload trying to keep track of your tracking codes on your website? If so, your savior has arrived! Google Tag Manager is a tool Google released this October to help manage tracking codes by keeping them all in one place. With this new tool you can enter and manage all of your tags in one location, and insert them onto your site with one little snippet of JavasScript code.

Monitoring the success of your website or Pay-Per-Click campaign wouldn’t be possible without strategically placed tracking codes placed on your website to see how users are landing on your site and where they visit before – hopefully – making a conversion by clicking a “contact us” button, or buying your product or service.

But implementing tracking codes can be a pain. Improperly implemented code can slow down your website and lead to inaccurate reporting data, and every time a new marketing tool comes out you have to retag many parts of your site. Often the worst frustration is waiting for a request to make it from a marketing department to IT – and by the time your tracking is set up, you could have missed out on valuable statistics that could have been used to improve your site and get valuable leads.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a tool your Marketing department could view and add tracking code themselves? That’s where Google Tag Manager (GTM) comes in. With an intuitive user interface, it makes it easier for marketing managers to get the data they need, and even gives your markets the ability to tag live and publish changes in seconds.

GTM has a number of benefits:

  • You can add tags any time without waiting. It’s easy enough for marketers to make changes without having to bother IT.
  • Automatic error-checking and faster tag load times mean more accurate tracking data.
  • Templates make it easy to copy-past and auto-generate your code.
  • You have the ability to set rules to fire which codes you want.
  • Asynchronus tag loading means tags will load as they’re ready, and in parallel with other page elements. This speeds up your site and prevents the clashing of other tags.
  • Multi-account support and user permissions give large corporations additional flexibility

Learn about all of Google Tag Manager’s current features at Google.

How does Google Tag Manager work?

After you create a Tag Manager account you will be able to create accounts and edit permissions for anyone who will need to access the account. You can work with your IT department to implement the solution on your site, and in some cases all it takes is a single snippet of code.

You can define sets of tags and rules within Google Tag Manager. Once these are made live, users will receive an up-to-date configuration in their browser where the correct tags will fire. Tags are loaded more quickly as the manager loads them asynchronously, and the rest of the page will keep loading independent of the tags. No longer will a single poorly-performing tag limit your page loading performance.

Before you make tags live, you can view them in the preview and debug view of GTM. This allows you to check that tags are firing on the right pages and at the right time.

How to get started:

  1. Get your team involved: Talk to your marketing and IT teams and see if Google Tag Manager could benefit your business.
  2. Implement GTM: either have your IT team install GTM themselves, or hire an outside source to set up your webpage.
  3. Determine your goals for measurement: Decide what key elements you want to measure. With GTM you can easily change these elements in the future.
  4. Migrate to the new platform.

GTM plans to add additional tag templates as well as other elements including reporting on tag firing, support for A/B testing tags, and more.

Strathcom's New Look

If you blinked, you probably missed it. Strathcom’s website has donned a new look! Thanks to our web team for making the transition as smooth and clean as the new design. You may also notice a change in our logo. It’s all part of a slew of changes that Strathcom has undergone in the past year. With our entrance into 2013, we decided that it was time to change our branding to reflect our changes in ownership and match our ambitious goals for the future.

What has changed? We are a new company with new owners. Our business is now purely automotive-driven, and we now focus solely on the Canadian auto industry. Many of us have automotive backgrounds and have worked with auto dealerships in the past. The auto industry has always been the primary focus of our company and it’s time that every part of our business reflected this fact.

To advance this aim, we are launching The Market Platform with a projected launch date of spring 2013. This revolutionary new system will streamline inventory management while incorporating all of the services and features you need in one place. Our development team has been working long and hard to make this dream a reality. As a product that defines our company, we have incorporated it into our redesigned logo: Strathcom Media Market Platform: by dealers, for dealers.

We have also updated our packages to provide our clients with a superior selection of services that make it easy to select exactly what you need to get the best return on your investment. We are making your choices easier:  when you subscribe to our dealer website solution, you have the choice between the essential Core Package and the comprehensive Premium Package. We also provide websites for Independent Dealers and a large number of customizable ad-ons depending on your needs. Contact us if you have any questions regarding these changes.

There were also many changes for our company in 2012. We hired 30 new employees, added new departments including Video, Online Marketing Managers, SEO department, Dealer training and representatives in BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. We also changed locations without breaking a sweat (or anything else in the process). We have changed. Our company is grown up, and our new look is representative of the new road that we are ready to take. We invite you to join us on that road.

Kijiji Knows Best!

“Mistakes happen to everyone!” said Kijiji Head of Marketing Bart Molenda in late 2012. With a massive surge in popularity, Kijiji has become the most-searched retail brand in Canada – which was why it was a surprise when Kijiji was omitted from Google’s 2012 Zeitgeist List of Most Searched in Retail.

“[…] the numbers don’t lie: Kijiji is the clear leader amongst competitors in searches for online retail brands in Canada” – Molenda

Kijiji Versus the Rest Without fanfare, Kijiji has since been added to the top of Google’s 2012 search trends list. This was after Kijiji used Google’s own analytics tools to verify their leading position and independently published their results. Mistakes and flubs aside, there is now no doubt that Kijiji is the most-visited classified site in Canada, reaching nearly 9 million Canadians each month. At Strathcom, we’ll help you coordinate your Kijiji efforts and grab a slice of that 9-million-user pie. Here’s how it works: once you set up an account with us, we’ll put you in contact with one of our technical support managers – wizards, really – who will train you on our Easy Loader software. You’ll be live on Kijiji overnight! * You can than update your inventory whenever you want to get the best exposure. You also have the freedom to choose from a number of templates that will make your cars easy-to-find and eye-catching. Kijiji is just one portal of Strathcom’s data syndication service where we give you access to the largest auto data syndication network in Canada. *We do not sell directly for Kijiji, as all sales must go directly through Kijiji. Rulanne Patry & Michael Fisher

Rankings vs Leads and Conversions for Car Dealerships

Not to rail on ranking reports, but when it comes to bringing in business there’s more to building a website with SEO than just ranking for keywords.  If you start out with the goal of ranking on a specific keyword, say “custom truck accessories,” that’s fine and dandy – but the question you need to ask yourself is how your web traffic will transform into leads and conversions.  When ranking reports become your only evaluation for success, you can lose sight of your real goal of getting people to walk into your dealership and buy a car.

There are a number of factors that can skew ranking reports:

Google Account Login

  • Personalized results (results based on things like user behavior)
  • If you are signed into your Google account at the time of search
  • Your IP address (Which location you are searching from)
  • Local results, video and images
  • All the possible variations on keywords
  • If you have visited a certain website in the past

Ranking reports ignore searches based on personalized results and don’t take into account how previous user behavior can change the results for a search based on websites. They also miss results for searches that include local results and other media types like images and videos that can still bring users to your website.

With fluctuating ranking results and constantly evolving search engines, it’s nearly impossible to have a consistent metric to report on. It’s unfortunate that many agencies use ranking reports as the primary metric to define their success because this leaves the doors open for unethical and short-term strategies to improve ranking results while leaving long-term, devastating consequences for a website.

A better strategy is to examine what keywords are bringing you traffic and if they are converting to leads. These can give you a deeper insight into how people are actually reaching your website, and can help you change your strategies to capitalize on it. Even if you’re not successful in ranking for your target keywords because they are highly competitive, you can still focus on what you already do well and build on it. This gives you the opportunity to change your strategy to target how people are actually finding your website.

You can’t rank for everything. Sometimes people get greedy and try to rank for every search term that’s even somewhat related to their business. It’s more effective to research the top 10 – 20 keywords you want to rank for and focus on those. It’s better to be at the top on 10-20 keywords rather than just rank “OK” on everything. And if you change your SEO tactics in attempt to rank on everything, you can lose the top coveted spots that you already rank well on. Once you have chosen your top keywords, it’s time to focus on conversion rate optimization.

Conversion rate optimization

The bottom line is converting your web visitors to customers, and this is where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes in. Ultimately, the way you should be judging the success of your website is bottom-line revenue, and increasing your conversion rate by even a few percent can have dramatic benefits in dollars and sales.

One of the top methods of CRO is improving overall website design and ensuring you have relevant content that effectively delivers your business proposition up-front. Taking advantage of long tail key phrases based on what you learn from Google Analytics traffic reports is also an essential method of bringing in paying customers. Someone searching the phrase “Buy used 2003 Nissan Sentra Alberta” practically has their wallet out, while someone searching for “used cars” is likely just browsing the market. And keep in mind that the high-competition keywords “used cars” would rarely be searched on their own, and in most cases will be part of another long-tail search phrase.

top tips

  • Set up goals for each action you want your users to perform on your website. Some examples are:
  • View Contact Us page
  • Fill out Contact Us form
  • Sign up for newsletter
  • Sign up for RSS Feed of blog post
  • Other tips include:
  • Have relevant ad copy.
  • Ensure the main heading (H1) closely resembles your chosen key phrase. Searchers need to find the info they initially searched for on the page they land on.
  • Use relevant, quick-loading images and captions.
  • Prioritize key features and benefits in the body content.
  • Have visible calls to action & clean design with lots of white space.
  • Conversion rates often increase when calls-to-action are placed on the right sidebar.
  • Keep your message on-point and consistent; avoid off-topic content and distracting images.
  • Include relevant and reputable testimonials.
  • Phone-track those who call you from your website.
  • Getting your dealer receptionist to ask customers who come into the dealership where they heard about you.
  • Keeping a spreadsheet & analyzing the data on a monthly basis.

The next time you look at a ranking report, ask yourself “how does this impact my conversion rate?” If you’re not ranking for your desired keyword but still have more customers visiting and buying your products due to a successful web solution, don’t worry about it! There is much that can be learned from traffic trends and natural search results. If you keep an open mind, you will find ways to improve your online business that you never thought possible.

Michael Fisher & Samantha Goettel

Creative Authority Link Building for Car Dealerships

If your website were a political candidate, its votes would come in the form of backlinks on the web.  Since the late 1990s search engines have used links as votes representing the web’s democratic opinion, and the more websites you have linking to yours the higher you rank in the ballots as read by Google. Link building can be a long and frustrating process but remains the ace in the hole to reach higher rankings. There are a number of ways to build links to your site. If you have already started your own blog, you can maximize your social media impact by making easy-to-link to blog articles. For example, you can build a “101” list for an automotive topic, say “the top ten myths about car maintenance,” and then promote them through social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook. The more people who share your article and link to it, the higher you move up the authority ladder.

Be a Creative Authority in your Automotive Industry

Link building isn’t easy. Traditional link building techniques have included buying links from other sites and asking them to link to yours, but today Google is cracking down on websites with suspicious backlink profiles. That means many businesses have abandoned traditional link building strategies. The new game is Authority Building, an ethical link building strategy which relies on other websites to naturally link to yours. Authority building uses a number of strategies at one time including SEO, marketing, branding, and PR. It increases the value of your business overall and its benefits last. Content is King How can you get other websites to link to yours? Quality content is one of the best answers, and a good way to add fresh content to your site is by blogging and posting relevant articles on interesting topics. When you incorporate informative pages on your dealership website you can also increase your backlinks. For example, consider adding a vehicle history page to describe the background of some of your popular car models (say “history of the Corvette”) or incorporate how-to videos and articles detailing popular car features like Bluetooth. You can do this on your own or hire a professional consultant to build your website with SEO optimization and quality content in mind.

Here are a few ideas to get you started with website authority building:

  1. Study your competitor’s links. What are the trusted websites from where they are getting links? Use a resource like Open Site Explorer to find backlink details for competing websites and see how you can replicate their strategy.
  2. Ensure you build links using different types of anchor text. Use keywords within the anchor text, domain exact match and the company name. You want your links to look natural and not “built.”
  3. Submit your website to local directories like Yahoo directory, Dmoz, Yelp, HotFrog & Google Places.
  4. Hold a contest and promote it online. Make it interesting and unique, people will share the links to your contest across social media sources. The more people are talking about your company the more authoritative you will become online.
  5. Become a sponsor for a local charity event and promote it on your website and social media.
  6. Send out a press release and syndicate it to as many article sites as possible like EzineArticles, GoArticles, iSnare and others.
  7. Release interesting infographics. They can be about anything, but the point is that they’re easy to link to and easy to share.
  8. Get well-known bloggers in your community to blog about a vehicle or experience they had with your dealership. Have the blogger link back to your website within their blog.

Mobile Friendly Websites for Car Dealers

Google Mobile Search Mobile browsing is the way of the future. Between 2009 and 2011 we saw a 1000% increase in the worldwide browsing activity on smartphones and other mobile devices, and that is only the beginning. As we previously mentioned, over 33% of shoppers already use mobile devices during their buying cycle, with 27% searching for a dealer specifically and 33% using click to call to get in touch with a dealer. Those numbers are nothing to scoff at, seeing that every view you receive on your website is a potential lead. That’s why it’s important to optimize your website to be mobile-friendly. In the fast-paced online environment, customers want access to the information they need right away. It’s easier to click somewhere else and leave a web page than slog through a difficult-to-view website or deal with long waiting times to access content. Recent Google research shows that 61% of customers using a mobile device would quickly move to another site if they didn’t find what they were looking for quickly. On another note, 67% of buyers said that they would be more willing to buy from a mobile friendly site. If you have a mobile-friendly site, that’s great news for you. If not, then that’s great news for your competition. Here are some more statistics from Google on mobile users:

  • 96% of consumers say they’ve encountered websites that were not optimized for mobile viewing.
  • 74% of users said that they would be more likely to return to a mobile-friendly site
  • 67% of users said they would be more likely to buy a product or service from a mobile-friendly site.
  • 48% of users were frustrated and annoyed by a non-mobile friendly site.
  • 52% of users said that an experience with a non-mobile friendly site made them less likely to engage with a company.

These are all reasons to implement a mobile website solution  and stay one step ahead of the competition.

Mobile Browsing and SEO

One of the largest factors affecting mobile browsing is screen size and resolution. Despite continual advances in mobile technology, portable screens are still small. What that means for you is an even smaller space to capture a potential customer’s interest. It also affects how users will see mobile search results. Mobile and desktop search results are not the same. There are variations in ranking for the majority (about 87%) of smartphone search results when compared to searches from a desktop. Factors affecting these search results include a higher ranking of local results in mobile devices (Google Places results will list higher), Android Market or iTunes results for searches including keywords like “download” or “app,” as well as other differences like the position of vertical results. All of these differences can be used to maximize the impact of your Pay Per Click/Keyword advertising campaign  by targeting mobile devices.